February 2011 Archives


Jill Camarena-Williams sets AR at USA Indoor/BMW, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jenn Suhr set a new AR of 4.86m (15-11 1/2) and Jill Camarena-Willams broke the shot put record of Ramona Pagel, from way back in 1987, throwing 19.87m! On top of that, Camarena-Williams had the farthest throw of year. On top of that, Nine world leaders!

Suhr_Jenn1c-USind11.JPGJenn Suhr setting AR of 4.86m in pole vault, at 2011 USA Indoor! photo by PhotoRun.net
In December 2010, many of the top prep sprinters and middle distance runners received a gold ticket from the Brooks Running Company.  The letter invited them to come out to a new event, the Brooks PR invitational, to be held February 27, 2011, at the fabled Dempsey Fieldhouse in Seattle, Washington, and just see how fast they could run, when it was their feet, a fast track and an enthusiastic group of fans.


Be careful what you wish for, as the response started right away...now, the tough stuff, putting on a meet from scratch. Noble intentions are a good thing, but Brooks wanted this event to showcase their support of high school running, and like previous projects that Brooks had taken on, this was a event with great possibilities, and fraught with challenges....


RuppLeads-USAInd11.JpgRupp & Lagat put it on the line, 2011 USA Indoor 3,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net.

RBR asked Elliot Denmann, a long time observer of our sport, to write two columns this weekend, one on the Day 1 and one on the Day 2 happenings. Yours truly was at the first day, and then flew to Seattle for the Brooks PR invitational.

Comments from industry key players, were, well, full of frustration over the lack of a crowd in Albuquerque and the number of withdrawals from the meet. While the number of withdrawals is not something to put on the doorstep of USA Track & Field, the continued issue with fan base at national championships is something that needs to be addressed. Until we promote our championships in a serious manner, this issue will remain. RBR suggests a subscription to indoor, outdoor where part of the value is a souvenir results program, digital and print, that fans get to keep. But also the idea of offering both champs, six to ten months out, at a discounted price, or with special added values for fans is an approach that has not been tried.

In any case, it was unfortunate, as the facility was up to snuff, and there were two really good races, the 3,000 meters, but not much else to draw fans. Amber Campbell probably had a bigger cheering section than just about anyone, as half of Tucumcari, New Mexico drove the three hours to see their local hero defend her title!

Simpson-Hall_USAIndoor11.JpgSara Hall & Jenny Simpson duel at USA Indoor 3,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Vera Sokolova took 33 seconds off the 20k WR for women in the racewalk on Saturday, February 26, in Sochi, Russia.

Usain Bolt is planning his 2011 season and has agreed to compete at Aveva Paris, one of the 2011 Samsung DL.

Gay-BoltFH-Stockholm10.jpgWill the chance of a showdown between Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt keep sport fans excited? photo by PhotoRun.net.

Nick Willis, a Kiwi that we like (we like all Kiwis), got his medal in NZ today in an emotional ceremony and he won the mile. Nick showed some real class and got his friends to do an appeal on TV4 NZ for Christchurch. A class young man all the way around, a honor to his country and to his sport. 

Willis_Nick-NewBalGP11.JPGNIck Willis, 2011 NB Indoor Games, February 5, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net

So, RBR readers, please watch this! My suggestion is to make a donation to the suggestions noted on the video. Here is a hint: Take that $20 you were going to use to buy your tofu burritos, six pack of Stella Artois, and the new issue of People magazine, and do something good today! Even Ron Warhurst, one of the best distance coaches in our world, got involved in the video!
Galen Rupp with Bernard Lagat, 2011 USA Indoor Press conference, photo by PhotoRun.net

Bernard Lagat is complex. He is charming as they come at a press conference, with funny comments and witty quotes. He accepts the part of his job where he works with the media as part of his job. He is kind and charming with athletes, on and of the field. But race against the man, and you are racing against one of the most race savvy athletes in the world. This 3,000 meters tonight with Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat will be a case in point....
Amber Campbell, USA Indoors 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Amber Campbell is the defending US champ at the 20 lb weight throw, and the US champion at the hammer throw outdoors as well. Outgoing, thoughtful, Amber is consider a local athlete here, as she grew up three hours from Albuquerque, in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Campbell will also have one of the best cheering sections in the meet, with probably 100 friends and family driving in from Tucumcari to see their local hero. " Having my friends and family at a competition gets me excited!" Last year, she set an American record, so that may have been an understatement....
Flag of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Image created...

Image via Wikipedia

Gentle readers: Thanks to our friend, Tom Surber, we have some great links for you to use to follow the meet, know who the past champs were, and who have top marks for 2011. RBR will cover the meet today from Albuquerque, and then off to Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle. We will have Elliot Denman covering the meet for us today and Sunday at the USA Indoor as well! So, for your viewing pleasure, here are the links that we promised!

For live results and start lists at the championships, visit:


To see a list of past USA Indoor Champions, visit:


2011 USA Indoor Marks Lists

Men:  http://www.usatf.org/statistics/topMarks/2011/indoorTF/men.asp

Women:  http://www.usatf.org/statistics/topMarks/2011/indoorTF/women.asp

2011 World Marks Lists

Men:  http://www.iaaf.org/statistics/toplists/index.html

Women:  http://www.iaaf.org/statistics/toplists/inout=I/age=N/season=2011/sex=W/list.html

Brittany Reese, USA 2010 Outdoor Champion, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Brittany Reese is quiet. Very quiet. But that thoughtfulness covers a tremendous confidence, and a huge love of competition. A former basketball player, Brittany did not take up the event until she was a junior in high school. Track & Field News ranks Brittany as the number one long jumper in the world!

As the current World Outdoor and World Indoor Champ, as well as the US Indoor and outdoor champ, Brittany Reese is focused on becoming an even better long jumper. Her competition should be very, very worried.....
Galen Rupp, USA 2011 Indoor Press conference, photo by PhotoRun.net

Galen Rupp is a professional runner. He has been a top runner since high school and lives a the very unique lifestyle. Consider this travel schedule: Fly to Dusseldorf from Portland, and race February 12, running 13:21.3 for an opening 5,000 meters. Then fly to Birmingham, UK, and, on the following Saturday, race the 5,000 meters with new training partner, Mo Farah. In that race, with 8,500 fans cheering on, Rupp pushed the pace from 3,000 meters on, with Farah by his side. At 4,200 meters, it looked liked Mo was having some trouble, but Mo Farah held on, and ran to a new British and European record of 13:10.60, with Galen Rupp holding on for a new AR at 5,000 meters of 13:11.44. 

And that was just the start of his journey.....
Michael Rodgers, 2011 USA Indoor Press Conference, photo by PhotoRun.net

Michael Rodgers is the 2009 and 2010 US champion at 60 meters, the 2009 US outdoor champion at 100 meters and the 2010 World Indoor Silver medalist. He is a man who knows the rarefied world he competes in is ultra-competitive!

"9.90 it today's 10.00. You have to bring your A game anytime you race. "noted Rodgers in a conversation with RBR and assembled media yesterday at the 2011 USATF Press conference.

Piste d'athlétisme à 8 couloirs. Track and fie...

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The ASBA is the trade organization for track and tennis builders. Their goal is to provide information and contacts for the building of quality sports facilities. American Track & Field and Runblogrun has worked with the ASBA for several years, promoting quality sports facilities. In fact, for the past decade, American Track & Field has shown the winners of the best track, indoor and out and runners up in the first issue of American Track & Field each year. We encourage you to nominate your facility!
Well, this meet just got a lot more interesting! Kellie Wells, Carmelita Jeter and Jenny Simpson!

Wells_KellieSF_USOlyT08.JpgKellie Wells, 2008 US Olympic Trials, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Wells will run the BMW 60m hurdles, Carmelita will run the 60m and Jenny Simpson will double at 1,500m and 3,000m. Her coach, Julie Benson had mentioned considering such a double, wanting to give her the experience in elite fields. This is the place to do just that !

David Oliver, who ran the fastest 60m hurdle race of the year, will not be running at the USA Indoor this weekend. Through his coach, Brooks Johnson, RBR was told last weekend, that David, " had accomplished what he needed to do indoors, and now it is all about World Champs."
RBR translated that as Oliver's slight strain needed some rest and Albuquerque was probably not in the cards.

Galen Rupp, who ran the new AR for 5,000 meters last weekend in Birmingham, UK, will be running the 3,000 meters in Albuquerque to give Bernard Lagat a real challenge for this USA Indoor champs.

Just got word that Lj Van Zyl just broke the South African record for the 400m hurdles, with his early run of 47.68 on a very cold and rainy track in Pretoria, South Africa. The 400m hurdles is an example of hell on earth, even in a good race, where one combines the lactic acid overload of the 400 meters, with the necessity of clearing hurdles, when one's body would rather do anything but that action. Add cold rain, Van Zyl must be pretty fit! 


LJ VanZyl, WC 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.
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Remember those old Henry Weinhard commercials from the 80s? Well, they were pretty funny, and iconic. But it all came down to something in the water (well, and the hops). Two Oregon men excelled this past weekend: Galen Rupp and Ryan Crouser. And both are challenging icons in their own rights. 

So this last weekend, Galen Rupp pushes Mo Farah to European and British 5,000m records, and he guts it out to a new AR for 5,000 meters of 13:11.44. That was in Birmingham, UK for the AVIVA Indoor Grand Prix.

Ironically, Mo Farah broke a British record set February 12, 1982, by Nick Rose, of 13:21.27. In third place in that race, three seconds back, was the current coach of both Mo Farah and Galen Rupp: Alberto Salazar.

Afterwards, Alberto Salazar and UK athletics distance mentor Ian Stewart waxed on about how proud they were of how Mo Farah and Galen Rupp challenged each other. Salazar admitted how pleased he was that Mo and Galen trained well together as well. In the end, the 8,500 SRO crowd at AVIVA Indoor in the NIA stadium were enthralled! 

Then, at the Simplot Games, Ryan Crouser just exploded in the shot put ring. He threw 23.54m, part of a masterful series of throws which added two plus feet to the indoor WJR for shot put! Crouser is from a family that are birthed with shot puts, javelins or disci in their hands.

Crouser had a tremendous series of throws at the Simplot Games. This writer believes that Crouser has a serious shot to challenge Micheal Carter's epic high school record throw, now over three decades old.

Congrats to both Galen and Ryan for their fine performances! Galen is running the USA indoors after the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand laid waste to downtown Christchurch and damaged the QE2 track facility.

Ryan Crouser, World Youth 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Haile Gebrselassie has a knee injury, and he will have to rest for the next 4 weeks. Which means, no Tokyo marathon this coming weekend. The little emperor fell on a rock during training and hit his knee, which will take a month to recover. He next races April 17 at the Vienna Marathon.

Gebrselassie is considered by many to be the greatest distance runner of his time, with wins at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic 10,000 meters, wins at the 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999 World Champs, along with 24-25 world records or bests from 1,500 meters indoors to the hour run!
2010 was a mercurial year for him, as he saw some successes, but had to drop out of his first run at ING NYCM marathon and also their spring half marathon in the Big Apple.

Haile wins Dubai 10.jpgHaile, when his knee was fine: 2010 Dubai Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Andrew and Deena Kastor, 2006 Berlin 25k, photo by PhotoRun.net.

2004 Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor gave birth to a baby daughter, Piper Bloom Kastor, on Monday, February 21, 2011. Andrew Kastor, the proud father and husband of Deena, reported on their Facebook page that
"both mom and baby are doing great!"

RBR sends warm wishes to Deena and Andrew and their new baby, Piper Bloom, and wishes them all of the wonders that a new child can bring.

Deena Kastor has been not only at the forefront of the rebirth in American distance running, she has championed it for more than a decade. Andrew is always pleasant to catch up with before and after an event.

Congratulations once again!

The picture above is of Jesse Williams, Sports Marketing Manager at Brooks Running. Notice the glasses, the glaze over the eyes. This is probably due to the fact that he has not slept in three weeks as Brooks is about to have their first Brooks PR Invitational. RBR will be at the PR invitational on Sunday, February 27, 2011. It should be a memorable afternoon of high school track & field competition.

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Brooks has followed its own drummer for most of its current existence, which is now going on twelve years, I believe. This year, Brooks has increased its sponsorships of road running events (see the Competitor RNR series), but they have also increased their support of the high school market. In 2011, Brooks has announced the Brooks PR Invitational and the Brooks Inspiring Coaches Program.

Brooks wants to establish a relationship with the 1.6 million high school cross country and track runners, and 80,000 high school track & cross country coaches. Brooks knows that
their future lies in creating a brand relationship with these young athletes.

The most successful brands find a way to reach out to young athletes, core athletes and new athletes. The newest efforts from Brooks are interesting in that, for the most part, it is a brand that actually stays with the programs it develops. Want to develop a long term brand relationship with the high school sports community? Then, you need to stay around more than 18 months. Brooks gets that.

RBR asked to interview Jesse Williams to see what makes him tick, and how Brooks is approaching the high school market. We hope that you enjoy the interview!

Angelica Bengtsson, 2010 World Juniors, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The XL Galen Meeting Stockholm had some superb performances  on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. The crowd pleaser was Angelica Bengtsson, the Swedish pole vault phenom, who upped her World Junior record three times on Tuesday, clearing 4.53m, 4.58m and 4.63m!

A view of Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New ...

Image via Wikipedia

Last weekend, while I was in Birmingham, I spent a few minutes catching up with Alberto Salazar, coach of Galen Rupp and now, Mo Farah, among others. Galen and Alberto were heading to New Zealand on Sunday to run a 10,000m in Christchurch, New Zealand.

As many of you know, a huge earthquake hit Christchurch. With a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale, the earthquake and post event shaking has destroyed much of the second largest city in New Zealand. Reports of 75 deaths so far, and with 170 more missing or believed still buried, the toll will become higher.

Christchurch's QE2 Stadium is hallowed athletics ground. The 1974 Commonwealth Games, one of the most historic of athletics championships were held there. Consider this: Filbert Bayi broke the WR at 1,500m there, followed by John Walker , and a host of great milers.  In the 10,000m, Dick Taylor, coached by Arthur Lydiard, won a fast and tactical 10,000 meters. In the men's marathon, Ian Thompson ran the race of his life, and in second, 42 year old Kiwi, Jack Foster, ran the race of his lifetime, a long time masters record.

Nick Willis, Valeria Adams and Alan Webb, among other athletes in New Zealand, are working on a International meet to raise money for Christchurch. We will provide any information on how to make donations as soon as that information becomes available.
Please keep the people of Christchurch, New Zealand in your thoughts and prayers.

Jenn Suhr, the American record holder, indoors and out, cleared 4.71m at the Ontario T&F championships over the weekend. Suhr is getting into shape again after a tough 2010. Suhr will be leading the field at the 2011 USA Indoor Champs, which will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 26-27, 2011!.

Jenn Suhr, 2011 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix,
photo by PhotoRun.net.

The 2011 AVIVA Indoor Grand Prix was an amazing track meet, but also, proved, once again, that track & field, well managed, can be great sports entertainment. The SRO crowd of 8,500 saw great performances by the world's best, but also some tremendous British performances, from Jenny Meadows winning the 800 meters, to Mo Farah's British and European record at 5,000 meters.

Farah_MoLeads_NewBalGP11.JpgMo Farah leads the 2011 NB indoor GP 3,000m, February 5, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The weekend of February 18-20 was a huge weekend for national indoor championships, and, thanks to Alfons Juck, you have some of the most memorable performances. The European Indoor Champs, to be held in Paris, March 4-7, will give us a view of some new sports stars, with many stars, not yet in shape in 2011, with the World Championships not too far down the road.

The afternoon before the AVIVA Indoor Grand Prix, the rumors were answered: Mo Farah told the British press that he would be training with Alberto Salazar's group in Portland, Oregon. In fact, Mo Farah had been training with Galen Rupp for several weeks. The success of the new training regimen was illustrated with the 5,000m record by Mo Farah, establishing new European and British records and Galen Rupp holding on for the new AR. How did British media take it? One media member described it this way: " if Mo does well, no problems, if he
does not do well, watch for the questions to begin!".

The folks at PUMA sent us this new video, introducing the fastest band in the world! This video is part of their FAAS program. FAAS is fast in Jamaican, and in light of what several Jamaican athletes, including one Usain Bolt, have done, it makes a lot of sense.

PUMA just launched the PUMA FAAS running shoes. Their PUMA FAAS 500 shoe received the Best New Shoe from The Running Network in their 2011 RN Spring Shoe Review. I have run and walked in it, and like the clean lines, and the support I feel after a two hour walk on the roads. The colors, of course, Lime green for mine, stand out as well!

Video is becoming a larger and larger part of the marketing patois for various running brands and PUMA keeps them fun and light! We hope that you enjoy!


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Andrew Valmon, 1995 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The Olympics is still the largest sporting event in the world. That the US Track & Field team is the team with the most Olympic wins is not as well known. Well it is. And for a coach in the sport of track & field, the pinnacle of the sport is being named to the Olympic Track & Field coaching staff.

It is also the job where one is either ignored if all is good, and blamed for everything including global warming if the relays drop a baton or an athlete has a problem. Such is the nature of our sport, and global sports in general, that the job of being on the Olympic Track & Field coaching staff is exciting and problematic all at the same time!

There has been a lot of excitement about Amy Deem and Andrew Valmon being named Olympic coaches. RBR asked Elliot Denman to write pieces on both Andrew and Amy. This is his piece on Andrew Valmon and watch for our upcoming piece on Amy Deem!

Last weekend, when I asked Nike coach of the year Brooks Johnson, about the Deem and Valmon being appointed as Olympic coaches, he smiled and said that Andrew Valmon and Amy Deem will be great Olympic coaches because they know what to do and not to do!


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Teddy Tamgho doing what he does
 so well: Triple Jump at adidas GP, photo by PhotoRun.net

Teddy Tamgho answered the triple jump of 17.57m by Phillips Idowu last night in Birmingham with a new WR of 17.91m, breaking his own WR from Doha, Quatar during the World Indoor Champs. Tamgho has been seriously considering adding the long jump to his repertoire: he looks ready for some serious jumping at the 2011 European Indoors in Paris, March 4-6, 2011.

So, for the first time since 1983, and then it was our buddy, Greg Meyer, last American to win the BAA Boston marathon, who won the Ome 30k! Well, Jason Lehmkuhle did it on Sunday, February 20, 2011 and he did it by one second! That's right, Jason held off his competition, 1:32.08 to1:32.09! RBR just saw Jason in Houston a few weeks ago, so it is great to see him win a big one! Jason is also the designer of Run Minnesota, a member of the Running Network, that group of 23 magazines and 28 websites that is my day job! Nice job, Jason!

Lehmkuhle_Jason-Houston11.jpgJason Lemkuhle,  2011 Aramco/USA Champs Half marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net.
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Janet Rono paid $1,000 for an airline ticket to Hong Kong and won the race, set a course record, and in the end, won $34,000! Would you do that? photo by PhotoRun.net.

Mr. Butcher, our global runner, is in Hong Kong. That means that he is wafting poetically about all things marathon. This race had a fascinating pedigree. Suppose you invite some athletes, but some one shows up, on their own dime, who not only wins, but breaks the course record? Well, then you have a marathon that someone (you, kind reader), might actually want to read about! Write on, Mr. Butcher:

Rupp_Galen1-Stanford10.jpgGalen Rupp, 2010 Payton Jordan, photo by PhotoRun.net

Galen Rupp, racing with new training partner Mo Farah, showed great form and some guts today, as he ran from the front from just past 3,000 meters until 4,900 meters. Hitting the 1,000m in 2;36.09, 2,000m in 5:16 and 3,000m in 7:52.9, Rupp and Farah worked in unison to break their countries records.

Farah took the lead with 100 meters to go, and Rupp did not give up, chasing Farah to the finish line, giving no quarter. Mo Farah ran 13:10.60 breaking a 29 year old record of one Nick Rose, European 5,000m champion. Galen Rupp ran 13:11.44 to break AR of Bernard Lagat, who ran 13:11.60 in 2010 (Rbk Boston), where Galen Rupp had run his previous indoor PB of 13:14.

Galen Rupp is running next in Christchurch, New Zealand, on February 26, to get the A standard for 10,000 meters for the 2011 World Outdoor Championships!


Running with new training partner Galen Rupp, Mo Farah set a new European and British record for 5,000 meters of 13:10.60. Mo took the lead with 100 meters to go, after having ran a very steady pace with Rupp, both together from 3k to the finish.

Mo Farah will be running the 3,000 meters at the European Champs in Paris in two weeks, with his eyes set on defending his 3,000m win in Torino in 2009!

Mo Farah winning 2009 Torino Euro Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Farah_MoLeads_NewBalGP11.JpgMo Farah leads Chepseda and Gebremaskel at NB 3,000m on February 5, photo by PhotoRun.net.

On Friday, February 18, 2011, at a press conference in Birmingham, the big news was about Mo Farah. Mo Farah, the current European champion at 5,000m and 10,000m outdoors and defending champion at 3,000 meters indoors, will now be coached by Alberto Salazar. Mo told the assembled masses that he wanted to move from his previous Olympic and World Champs performances to medal contender. He is moving his family to the US as well!

At Russian Indoor Champs, held in Moscow, on Friday, February 18, a quartet of Russian women broke the current 4 x 800m WR, running 8:06.24!

And 49 of possible 50 countries will be competing in European Indoor Champs, to be held in Paris, France, March 4-7, 2011. Only Lietchtenstein will be absent.

Looks like no David Oliver for U.S. Indoor champs. Coach Johnson told RBR that David has a small injury and that " all we set out to do indoors has been accomplished."  


Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to the RBR coverage of the 2011 Aviva Indoor Grand Prix. This fixture is one of the meets that I have followed since I started visiting UK meetings in 2005. This meet is an example of how an indoor meet can function and succeed. And this year, it takes on an even more prominent place with the European Indoor Champs, March 4-7 (RBR will be covering that meeting as well as next weeks USA Indoor and Brooks PR invitational, so three weeks of wonderful athletics competitions!).

I will be sending out tweets of live results on each major event here in Birmingham. I will then write a few lines about each event here, and update the blog, so you can check things out in a variety of ways.

What can US learn from the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix? Wonderful crowd, well produced and well orchestrated events, providing world class competition and always, always, local stories. It is my biggest beef with some US events. The reason meetings are sold out over here ? They actually advertise and promote events more than a month before the event! Amazing isn't it?

I have also linked to some of the newest stories on the meet. Like all major athletic meetings, the AVIVA Indoor Grand Prix has lost some top athletes: Robles, Oliver, Ennis. It is the part of the sport that hurts us. I do not know why meet directors do not have injured athletes show up, sign autographs and do a junior clinic--it would be great television.


My Run is an inspiring story about more than running. I am encouraging all of our readers to check this movie out, as it should be on a movie screen near you! Billy Bob Thorton is the narrator, and the story is very inspiring. We also ask readers who view the movie send us notes on it!
Logo of Comcast

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Steve Burke, the CEO of Comcast has been quoted as saying, in TVweek.com, that due to cost cutting, NBC may get out of the Olympic TV business! So, the worst kept rumor in the TV business may be true!  How will this affect our friends at Universal?

Also, please read the word, "May", that is the operative word. TV producers and TV networks have been begging poverty for some time. We will not know if this is play acting for some time!

More details on this one to come

Keitany_MaryH-RAK11.JPGMary Keitany en route, RAK half-marathon, February 18, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Mary Keitany gave the world just a bit more of a hint of what she could do, while running the
WR half marathon of 1:05:50 today! In perfect conditions, with a slight wind, Mary hit 24:30 for 8k, breaking Paula Radcliffes former 8k best from 1999, 15k best of 46;40, then she hit the best EVER for ten miles,50:05, then a best EVER for 20k, 1:02:36, then a final half marathon time of 1:05:50! Not bad for a day's running! Mary took several great names off the top place in the record books in her RAK half marathon win!

Merga_Deriba-RAK11.JPGDeriba Merga enroute! RAK half marathon, February 18, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net.

On the mens' side, Deriba Merga won the RAK in 59;24, and en route, ran the 8k best of 21:51 and a 12 world best of 33:08, en route to his 59:24 win. Merga is the past-winner of the Chevron Houston Marathon and 2009 BAA Boston Marathons!

2,600 runners ran the RAK half marathon this year, which is a sizzling course, especially in perfect weather conditions!

The Panathinaiko Stadium was the one of the fi...

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Our actions speak louder than words. Congrats to USATF on picking Amy Deem and Andrew Valmon, and their respective staffs for the 2012 London Games! Nice job, USATF! The picture is of the 1896 Olympic track in Athens!

Coaches work their entire lives to be picked to represent their profession with the best athletes in the U.S. It is, in my opinion, that important that we pick great coaching and support staffs!

The coaches association USCCTFA rightly picked that many well -respected college coaches are well represented. Again, a job well done, and a good example of the direction our teams are headed!  
Wenlock and Mandeville

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Well Menlock and Mandeville (to the right), will join two million or so British citizens who are on an email mailing list, waiting in earnest for the ticket lottery to start. Yesterday, the schedule for London 2012 was announced. With tickets from about $25 to $3300, there is a wide range of options. Under 16 year olds can get tickets for 200 of the 631 sessions featuring 26 sports on 34 venues, for under $35. Seniors, those over 60 on July 27, will qualify, same sessions and number for tickets at $35 for 200 sessions of various sports.

For athletics, morning sessions can be found for under $60, but athletics is expensive, from $275 for a day to $1300! A NZ paper calculated that watching Usain Bolt running the 100 meter final, and if Usain runs 9.58 seconds, would cost the can $159 per second! More to come on this one!

Boston Marathon

The new BAA Boston Marathon qualifying system recognizes the runners who qualify with the most margin, or runners who are faster. RBR applauds the system. Running has room for all types of runners and walkers, however, there is nothing wrong with encouraging and applauding the efforts of runners who are faster.

I do applaud the we are the world, we are the children, but road running, for some years now, has been applauding mediocrity.Yes, I know that opening races is good, and yes, I walk half marathons now. However, I do think that we should celebrate the faster runners, men and women, who put in the time to run faster. Boston is the ONLY race where a qualifying time is key (well, except for the charity runners, who while they do good things for the community, give me a queasy feeling sometimes).

There is nothing wrong with folks walking marathon in nine hours, half marathons in four hours, and there are many races for that. For folks who want to see how fast that they can run, and qualifying for the BAA Boston marathon is how average humans reach their sporting nirvana, let's applaud it!  So, for one race in the world, actually running fast enough or better to make your age qualifier is more important than how fast you can fill out a computer form on entry hour.

My guess is that this was also a response to the eight hour closing of qualifying for the 2011 race. There must have been some pretty unhappy campers out there!

Nice job BAA!

USA Track & Field

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RunPro.com is a site to encourage and educate prospective elite distance runners in the U.S. It is well presented and provides the young athlete with some vital information. Nice initiative on the part of Team USA Minnesota and USATF!

McMillanElite.jpgAllan Steinfeld Award Winners, Team USA Arizona, photo courtesy of Peter Abraham of the Honda LA Marathon. 

The Running USA Conventions Awards dinner is one of the highlights of the event. This year was no exception. The honorees included Team USA Arizona who received the Allan Steinfeld Award, named in honor of the former ING NYCM race director and founding member of Running USA. Team USA Arizona has seventeen members (ten women, seven men), and includes Stephanie Rothstein, Aaron Braun Brett Gotcher and Nic Arciniaga, all who have excelled over the cross country, the roads and marathon distance this year.  Also honored were Dr. Ken Cooper, the man who made aerobic running part of our lives, and Creigh Kelley, race director, race announcer, founding member of Running USA, former Men's LDR chair, and a great friend, who were entered into Running USA's Hall of Fame.

And finally the Cascade Run Off was honored, on the 30th anniversary of the race giving prize money over the table.Chuck Galford, Keith Peters and Anne Audain represented the event!
Chuck Galford was legal counsel, Keith Peters was race director and Anne Audain won the 1981 race.   The Cascade Run Off was a wonderful 15k that showcased the City of Portland, Oregon. I had the priviledge of running it in 1980, and having Lorraine Moller wisk by me, dropping the last two miles just over five minutes per mile to win the women's race. It was the first time I had been beat by a women in a road race, and Lorraine was magnificent. She had taken the hills well and just flew down the last 5k! (I also had the 1980 race shirt for probably a decade until it was stolen out of my hotel room).

Congrats to all of the winners! Well deserved to all and nice job for Running USA recognizing such important supporters of our sport. The Running USA convention will be held during the U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon in Houston in 2012. And on a final note, the always enjoyable Running USA auction raised $52,000 this year to help support the sport.  
Brooks Sports

How many times do we have to say it?Want to grow your running business, focus on the high school athletes, their coaches and core running.

Brooks is introducing a new program tomorrow called Inspiring Coaches, where athletes can write in and nominate their most inspiring coach. What a smart program!

After having spent a weekend with 1100 coaches in Wisconsin, I sure hope a lot of kids write in, as, in my mind, there are 140,000 head and assistant coaches who work with 1.6 million teen age athletes, 46 weeks a year, two hours plus a day, six days a week. And they sure do not do it for the money.

Nice job Brooks!


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Okay, sports fans! Eight days of track geek mania, the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials are less than fifteen months away! Get that VW bus working again, pull out the Stop Pre t-shirt, some Grateful Dead tapes, and all those back issues of Track & Field News that you have been saving from 1974, and get ready to roll!

AbdiChecksBizuneh-USOlyT08.JPGThe 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The eight day ticket packets will go on sale on May 6, 2011 for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials!  The 2012 Olympic Trials will be held June 22-July 1.

The tickets for the 2011 U.S.A. Outdoor champs will be held June 23-June 27 and tickets will be available on March 4 on the site noted below!

HurdleCrew-USOlyT08.JPG                   Hurdle crew, 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Oh, and yes, watch for the various missives from Dr. Peanut Harms, professor emeritus, on the coaching gatherings that should occur during the 2011 and 2012 events!
(If one looks closely, Dr. Harms may be in next picture).

Devaney-Jones-Fanelli-USOlyT08.JPGatypical track geeks, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The other point that I wanted to make about attending the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. You will become more handsome or more beautiful than you already are (well, inside) by attending eight days & nights of track & field ...case in point, look at the three guys shown above....(not all increases in handsomeness or beauty will be equal, I know Einstein was wrong, relativity, down the drain!)

SpecialTreatment-USAOlyT08.JPg                 Special padded seat for TV personalities/former high jumpers, photo by PhotoRun.net.

While the LOC can not promise you a seat like Mr. Stones, RBR can assure you that the U.S. Olympic Trials will be eight days of track geek love that you will not soon forget!

I wanted to wish you and yours a Happy Valentines! Get in your run or walk, and watch this with someone that you love. This is Chet Baker's Happy Valentine, from Torino, Italy in 1958. Amazing version!
Horst Milde, photo by PhotoRun.net.

 Horst Milde was one of the first people that I met in my marathon travels and has always been a gracious host and patient with my questions.  One of my favorite experiences was being able to spend several hours in the Berlin Sports Museum. It was not just the experience of holding photos from the 1936 Olympics; it was as if I was in a time tunnel: seeing a young Jesse Owens, Don Lash lining up for the 5,000 meters, Glenn Morris resting between decathlon events were among the many photos in the collection. Horst Milde is one of the good guys, in my book.

Another one of the good guys, our global traveller, Pat Butcher, wrote this column with the kind assistance of Joerg Wenig. Please enjoy, and remember to sign up at www.globerunner.org to get all of Pat's thoughtful columns.

Elliot Denman is one of the keenest observers of our sport. A long time writer for the Asbury Park Press, Elliot had his trials of miles over the distances of 3k to 50k in the race walk. Elliot won the 1959 AAU titles at 3k and 50k in 1959. He competed in the 50k Racewalk in the 1956 Olympics, where he placed 11th.

The two major bastions of indoor track & field, the NB Armory and the Reggie Lewis Center, will hold, between them, 140 plus events and give over 130,000 athletes a chance to compete, in the highschool, college and open divisions. In my mind, these sites, like the local high school track or university track center, are positive sanctuaries for sport. We need to celebrate them. That is what we have asked Elliot Denman to do in this story.

W3000Start-NewBalGP11.JPGStart of the NB Women's 3,000m, 2011 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net.

RBR asked Elliot to provide us with his thoughts on the New Balance Indoor Games in particular and the Reggie Lewis Center in general. Here are this thoughts:


Chris Solinsky DN Galen Stockholm 2010, photo by Photorun.net.

Chris Solinsky, running his first race of the year, ran a personal best at the mile, of 3:54.52, as he won the Flotrack UW Husky Invitational! A great opening for Solinsky as he begins his campaign to Daegu, Korea!

I spent weekend at the Wisconsin Track Coaches Clinic. With just under 1200 coaches, and the likes of Jeff Hartwig, John Godina, Gwen Wentlund McKenzie and Larry Rawson, this was an excellent reminder to me on who we write and publish magazines for.Great group of coaches, and a wonderful weekend! 

From 1996 to 2005, I spent every second weekend in February here, learning about how coaches were looking for information and also seeing some amazing clinics. In that time, WTCA grew to the second largest coaching clinic in country, and in my mind, the classiest.

I received a service award from the staff, something that they had tried to give me since 2006. I told the coaches that I have always felt lucky making a living from something I love doing. I also told them that the important job is their job. Coaches are educators, not only of the physcial, but also the spiritual. Running, jumping, and throwing affects the athlete, and the coach in many ways. Our sport is all about life lessons.

In a race run at the New Balance Armory on Saturday evening, Bernard Lagat broke the AR for two miles indoors with a time of 8:10.07. His unofficial splits were 62.5 for 400 meters, 2:03.07 for 800 meters, 3:05 for 1,200 meters and 4:07.9 for the mile. Lagat hit 2k in 5:09.6, 2,400 meters in 6:10.2, and 1 3/4 miles at 7:11.8. Running his last lap in 59.9, Lagat ran 8:10.07 for the AR.


Bernard Lagat winning in 2010 AVIVA London, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Lukas Verzbicas, who ran a personal best of 4:03.88 for the mile last weekend at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Verzbicas was making a run at the Gerry Lindgrens 44 year old prep record! Verzbicas made a game run of it, hitting the mile mark in 4:15.1 and hitting the finishing line in 8:43.2 (4:28.1 last mile)! Verzbicas time is the number three prep time ever!

Verzbicas-Manzano-NBind11.JPGVerzbicas running mile at 2011 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net.

More details to come!


Yelena Isinbayeva at 2010 World Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Yelena Isinbayeva cleared 4.85m today in the 22nd Samsung Pole Vault Stars meeting in Donetsk, Ukraine. This improves her world leader from 4.81m, set earlier in the week! Isinbayeva will compete next in Stockholm on February 22, 2011.

Stephanie Hightower, USATF President

RBR caught up with Stephanie Hightower, the President of USA Track & Field. Hightower has had a very eventful presidency, so far. With the rancorous departure of Doug Logan, and a possible legal action, and the confusion over the LaShawn Merrit affair, Hightower would have every reason to be concerned or anxious. That is not the case.

The truth is, USA Track & Field recently had a well run 2010 Convention. The USATF Cross Country Champs picked two of the best teams to run on the World Cross Country in years. The Millrose Games continues to be a challenge, but the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was a winner on all levels.

We asked Stephanie five questions and she answered all of them. We hope that you enjoy!

LeMaitre_ChristopheFH-Euros10.jpgChristophe LeMaitre, 2010 Europeans, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Christophe Lemaitre has been told by his coach to take a rest, and so his next competition will be the French Champs, Feb. 19-20. More details to come!
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Isaiah Koech setting WJR at Dusseldorf in 5,000m in 12:53.29, photo courtesy of IAAF (BENEFOTO)

Seventeen year old Isaiah Koech set a WJR in the 5,000 meters in 12:53.29! He beat Eliud Kipchoge, one of the top runners in the world for the past decade! Galen Rupp was fourth in this race in 13:21.83! Full Results on Dusseldorf: http://psdbankmeeting.com/ergebnisse/index.html
Brisbane central business district, with the B...

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The Australian track tour is starting and there are some good performances already! On March 3, in Melbourne, Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp will be among the athletes running the 5,000 meters.

On February 26, Galen Rupp will be running a 10,000 meters in Auckland, New Zealand as he and several athletes from New Zealand and Australia chase the A and B standards for 10,000 meters for the upcoming World Championships in Daegu, Korea. Rupp ran a 13:21 for 5,000 meters this past evening in Dusseldorf, and finished fourth, in a race won by an 18 year old Kenyan, Isaiah Koech,  in 12:53.29WJR!

The lanes of Cobb Track & Angell Field on the ...

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The image to your right shows the track at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California. In less than three weeks, it will be full of high school track athletes running one of the early season Track Carnivals in Northern California.

If Northern California is like other areas of the U.S., then the numbers of participants will be up at the Stanford Invitational this coming month.

The NFHS, the governing body of high school sports, notes that the numbers in track & field and cross country add up to just over 1.4 million, making it the largest sport for boys and girls in all of high school sports. That is not the big deal. The big deal is how little money that these programs get on with each and every year. High school track & cross country kids are some of the best students in high schools, and the running helps with the normal crisis of the American teenager.

If footwear companies were serious about helping high schoolers, they would consider a grant or sponsorship of their state high school track & cross country association. Supporting a state coaching association could help a state develop their own Coaching clinic.

I am attending the 22nd Wisconsin Track Coaches Association Clinics, and they are tremendous! Larry Rawson, John Godina, Jeff Hartwig and Gwen Wentlund McKenzie are among the speakers. With over 1,100 coaches here, it is like old home week and the coaches are relaxing and also getting ready for out door season, which starts March 7 here. With all of the snow we have had, two days of track clinics gets this crowd ready for Wisconsin high school track & field!

    Muncan over Hussa at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Here is a chance to tell USA Track & Field just what you think on how our sport is covered on TV. Give them your honest opinion!

I have received some comments on my piece on giving credit to USA Track & Field. Consensus was that Millrose TV was compromised by the lack of events to cover, and perhaps should have been a one hour show. The consensus on NB Indoor Grand Prix has been very positive. While comments gave kudos to Tim Hutchings, comments were made that Dwight Stones, while good at technical events like the vault, did not seem to appreciate the 3,000 meters.

All in all, most are happy that track is on TV, and they want more. My dream? Once a week, I can program my DVD player to record a track meet from around the world, run on ESPN 10
from 2-4 am instead of an informercial on becoming an internet mogul. Once a week, a 30 minute show of highlights of our sport, track, road and cross, like Speed TV, and on same time each week!

It will come, as some advertisers have figured out that track and road fans have money. It is all about the Benjamins!

                Antoinella Di Martino jumping at 2009 Zurich, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Ms. Di Martino woke up a few in the high jump world with her 2.04 m clearance! Read all about the tremendous competition (from February 9):
Ashton Eaton is USA Track & Field athlete of the Week. After his superb WR this past weekend, USATF has given Ashton his well deserved kudos! Eaton continues to show that he is chasing a level in multi-events that will make him one of the top contenders for London 20102 and Daegu 2011!

Ashton Eaton, World Champs, Berlin, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Muncan-DoumaFV_NBind11.Jpg                   2011 NB Indoor Grand Prix: the women's mile, by PhotoRun.net.

On Sunday afternoon, February 6, 2011, from two p.m. to 4 p.m., the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was televised on ESPN2. Even during the broadcast, RBR was receiving positive comments on the announcing team (Tim Hutchings, Dwight Stones, Ato Boldon, Lewis Johnson), the focus on the races and the interviews with the top athletes.

The NB Indoor Grand Prix was one of the best broadcasts that this writer has seen on U.S. television. It was not merely that the focus was on the middle distance races, and that the men's 3,000 meters and mile were well-described. It was the comments from Phoebe Wright, pretty much looking for a showdown over 800 meters. It was the one shoed wonder, Dejan Gebremeskel,  in the men's 3,000 meters, battling Mo Farah.

A keen observer of the sport gently reminded me, that as I had given kudos to Global Athletics, New Balance, the agents, managers and athletes, I had been remiss in not mentioning the reason we had a TV broadcast on ESPN2-USA Track & Field

Ivan Ukhov, Nike Pre Classic 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ivan Ukhov shows his fitness by clearing 2.38m on his first attempt and making three game attempts at 2.44m! And this all happened earlier today!

USA XC: The USA Cross Country champs were held in San Diego, California last Saturday and the womens team, lead by Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle and Lisa Koll, may be its best team ever! Brent Vaughn, who suprised many with his victory, lead some of our top male runners onto a tough senior men's cross country team, including Ed Moran and Matt Tegenkamp! Congrats on all involved in this superb event. Thanks to PhotoRun.net for great photos, thanks to the competitors for great races! As always, thanks to Chuck Bartlett for his kind help on these galleries!

NB GP: Right after the meet on Saturday night, I spent about an hour writing up the essential info on the meet, event by event. A great track meet is a thing of beauty. Several things are needed. One needs a great facility: Reggie Lewis is that. One needs an enthusiastic group of fans: NB Indoor had that. One needs an energized group of athletes who love to compete : NB Indoor had that! Over the past thirty-six hours, I have come to think that what we saw on Saturday night should not be the unusual experience: it should be the norm. Congrats to GAM for managing the meet. Congrats to New Balance for sponsoring the meet and supporting the meet for years to come. Congrats to all of the other brands, the athlete agents, the athlete managers, who supported the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. This has given 2011 a memorable start. Enjoy the photo gallery! Special thanks to PhotoRun.net for their photos and Chuck Bartlett for managing the RN galleries!
Muncan-DoumaFV_NBind11.JpgMarina Muncan just edges out Carmen Douma-Hussa in NB women's mile, photo by PhotoRun.net.

In orchestrating a great track meet, one must have a bit of the symphony conductor in the gene pool. A case in point is the 2011 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. New Balance signed a multi year deal on sponsoring the indoor icon a short time ago and the meet was rebranded, managed and produced by the talented team of twenty at Global Athletics & Marketing!

Global Athletics & Marketing has produced, developed and managed the meet over the past sixteen years. Sponsorship is a very fluid activity, and sponsors are constantly in development. GAM was preparing to produce the 2011 meet without a title sponsor, and with good fortune, New Balance came forward and has agreed to take title for a reported four more years! Rebranding an event has to be a challenge, but with a team of twenty who have worked on most of the events over the past decade and a half, GAM did their job and the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was revealed several weeks ago!

That New Balance's needs and the needs of GAM met is the goal in event sponsorship. New Balance sponsored this meet because it was good for the sport, good for their invovlement in the Boston area and a great branding activity for New Balance. The NB branding on the meet was well done. Large signage in the Reggie Lewis Center, as well as thoughtful and fun TV commercials. The TV commercials were well received. Their athletes did well, and the TV broadcast was well done! All in all, an excellent start to 2011 for indoor track & field.  The top agents and managers in the sport supported the event, bringing their top athletes to the event. And most importantly, the athletes did their part: two and a half hours of great racing! The 2011 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix is an example of our sport working together!

Simpson_Jen1e-NewBalGP11.JPG   Jenny Simpson running for the finish in Women's 3,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net.

New Balance athletes did well in this meet as well! Marina Muncan won the women's mile and Jenny Barringer Simpson had the crowd with her when she went after Sally Kipyego. Finishing less than two seconds behind, Jenny excited the crowd on her game run for the tape! More on the meet on Tuesday!  

Yelena Isinbaveya, Zurich 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Is she healthy? Is she fit? Does she really want to be the Queen? Well, Yelena Isinbayeva cleared 4.61m and 4.81m in her first competition and went for 4.94m as well. In her first competition of 2011, Yelena Isinbayeva gave a good accounting of herself. It will come down to how she competes with Fabiana Murer, Jenn Suhr and others later in the year, but the Queen is back and the vault wars are ready to start!
Ashton Eaton, WC 2009, decathlon pv, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Ashton Eaton is showing that he has a lot to say about the multi-event wars for the next decade or so. In his first professional global performance, Ashton breaks the indoor world record for the men's heptathlon. Scoring 6568, Eaton finished the second day with a 1,000 meters in 2:34!

Eaton is the real thing. With Bryan Clay and Trey Hardee, the US has a serious chance to dominate the decathlon as we have not done in ages!
             Shalane Flanagan winning 2010 USA XC Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shalane Flanagan defended her title, and in the process lead to the creation of one of our most talented women's cross country teams ever for the World XC upcoming in Spain in March!

On the men's side, Brent Vaugh, aka dadvaughn, after a tough dnf at the recent USA half marathon champs, won the USA senior mens XC champs, leading to a fascinating Men's team, again one of the best in years. More on the teams later today!

                      David Oliver winning USA Outdoor 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Saturday, February 5, was a great day of track & field. From Boston, MA to Stuttgart, Germany, the tracks were humming! David Oliver hurdles 7.37, with a fine win over Dayron Robles, who hit a bunch of hurdles and was later disqualified. Andy Turner finished third! Congrats to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, who provided some great track & field and also tremendous TV (nice job by Tim Hutchings, Lewis Johnson, Dwight Stones and Ato Boldon).


Welcome to the sixteenth annual New Balance Indoor Grand Prix! We will post short comments on each event, right after the event! We hope that you like it! Longer review tomorrow!

Dejen Gebremeskal, sans shoe, charging for the lead, NB Indoor GP 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net.

In a race that literally had the entire crowd on its feet, as Toni Reavis, the meet announcer, encouraged the leading three to push for the meet record, Dejen Gebremeskal, who lost his shoe within the first three strides of the 3,000 meter event, held an epic struggle with Mo Farah, was both ran way from the field, with Nixon Chepseba in tow! Gebremeskel won the 3,000m in 7:35.37!

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5:25: And the crowd showed up, nearly 4,000 fans showed up in the SRO stands at the Reggie Lewis Center. Three plus hours of great track & field await on this rainy evening in Boston!

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4:55 PM: This is the pole vault runway, from just about where AR holder Jenn Suhr will begin her run up. Coach of Jenn Suhr, also her husband, is taping her poles, as they get ready for some good vaulting at the Reggie Lewis Center. Jenn is the indoor and outdoor AR, and only the second women to clear sixteen feet in the pole vault!   

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4:45 PM: Fans are just starting to come in. This is a picture of the starting blocks for the 60 meters. The camera boom allows the TV crew to see everything. They actually pick and choose all of the shots you see, so you are watching a meet from their perspective! 

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Your writer with a piece of machinery, New Balance Indoor Grand Prix 2011

4:30 PM: Welcome to the 2011 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. It is about thirty minutes before the first race and it should be a fun three hours. We will twitter out the events, each one as they go and follow up with reviews of the events tonight and tomorrow! Enjoy the meet and remember to watch the meet on ESPN2 at 2 pm ESt tomorrow before that football game!

Eaton_AshtonLJ_WC09.jpgAshton Eaton, Long Jump, WC 2009 Decathlon, Berlin, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ashton Eaton is on pace to break his own world record in the men's indoor heptathlon, after the first day's results. Eaton is in a very competitive environment in Tallinn, and the second day should be fascinating to watch!
Libor Charfreitag threw the weight throw 24.88 m to take the world leader! Charfreitag was the Slovak athlete of the year for 2010.

In Boston, athletes are beginning to move around, after a morning run, heading to the brunch before the first bus heads to the Reggie Lewis Center at 3.30 pm. The meet starts at 5.25 with the Masters Mile (watch John Trautmann and Tom Nohilly in the masters mile this year!).

At the press conference in Boston yesterday, Mo Farah had the zen moment of the conference, as he discussed the difference between athletics and other sports. Mo, the 2010 European Champion at 5,000m and 10,000m, as well as the new British record holder at 5,000 meters, is now training with Galen Rupp and Alan Webb, as he is now training with the Oregon Project.

So, when asked about the differences between athletics and other sports, Mo considered the question and noted the following:  "You can not hide in athletics, if you have a bad race, you have a bad race, that is the hard part being an athlete."

                       Mo Farah, European 2010 Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Teddy Tamgho thrilled the fans in Doha, Qatar last year when he jumped 17.90m in the triple jump, setting a new WR. This indoor season, Tamgo wants to push the record out past 18 meters! On the domestic news side, NB Indoor Grand Prix in Boston is developing well. Even with the rough weather this week, most of the athletes have made it to the Lenox hotel, headquarters of the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

Tamgho_Teddy1a-nycDL10.JPGTeddy Tamgho, Triple jumping at the adidas GP 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net
Simpson_Jen-NBgames11.JPG                Jenny Barringer, 2011 New Balance Games, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Jenny (Barringer) Simpson is one of the most promising American women athletes in our sport. She is arguably our best steepelchaser, having set ARS in Beijing 2008 ( 9:22.26) and her stunning fifth place in Berlin 2009 (9:12.50). As with most successful steeplechasers, Jenny possesses some serious leg speed.

While at the University of Colorado, Jenny set indoor collegiate records at the mile (4:25.91), 3000 meters (8:42.03), and 5,000 meters (15:01.70). Outdoors, Jenny set collegiate records outdoors at 1,500 meters (3:59.90), 3,000m steeplechase (9:12.50) and the 5,000 meters (15:05.25).

Jenny signed with New Balance in January 2010, and it was one of the most sought after contracts for an American women in some time. Due to injuries, 2010 was more a year to focus on life changes: Jenny got married in October 2010 and also changed coaches: she now works with Coach Julie Benson.

2010 was also a lot of pressure for the young runner. Going from collegiate ranks to professional ranks, dealing with pressure of becoming an icon for New Balance, a brand focusing on performance running once again.  

Jenny Simpson has started 2011 off quite well, runnng 4:28.60 for the mile two weeks ago
at the New Balance Invitational. When asked today, Jenny said that she was happy with her fitness level, and this weekend, " is all about racing and seeing where I am. There are alot of good women in the race, and I want to compete well...this year is all about Daegu, and my fitness level for February is fine, but it is my February fitness level."

For a complete interview on Jenny Simpson, from two weeks ago, please read:



Kalkidan Gezahegne, World Indoor Champion, 1,500m, 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net.

One of the brightest prospects for world track & field domination is one Kalkidan Gezahegne. Kalkidan is Ethiopian, and all of 19. In the span of six weeks in 2010, Kalkidan won the Boston Grand Prix 3,000 meters ( 8:46.19), set the world junior mile record at the AVIVA Birmingham British Grand Prix (4:24.10), and also won her first World Championship, in Doha, Qatar, winning the 1,500 meters in a world junior best of 4:03.28.

Astonishingly enough, Kalkidan had fallen in the rough and tumble 1,500 meter semi finals, got up, chased the pack, and made the final! The women is one tough competitor.

Among her other titles are 2008 World Junior Champ at 1,500 meters, 2009 African Junior Champs, silver medalist, 1,500 meters, and yes, World Junior record holder at mile and 1,500 meters!

Kalkidan will be running against a tough field in the 3,000 meters, including Jenny (Barringer) Simpson tomorrow night at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix! We hope that you like the interview!

Defar_MeseretFV1-Worldi10.jpg             Meseret Defar winning 2010 World Indoor 3,000m title, by PhotoRun.net

Defar & Kaki are shooting for the 3,000m womens and 1,000m mens WR at the XL-Galen meet in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday night. Also on Saturday, in Boston, MA, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will have three hours of top competition.

Watch for a sizzling womens 3,000 meters, and the final event being the men's mile, with Nick Willis, WC silver medalist, Alan Webb, AR record holder. Also watch Lukas Verzbicas, the Gatorade 2010-11 XC Boys athlete of the year, with a personal best of 4:04.34, to come very close to breaking four minutes for the mile.

At the NB press conference, Alan Webb was asked what he thought of Lukas chances at getting his indoor high school record for the mile. " I would like to see him get it, he is tough, and new records are good for the sport." noted Webb.

                       Ashton throws the shot, WC 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

Eaton_AshtonLJ_WC09.jpg                       Ashton Easton long jumps, WC 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

Eaton_AshtonPV-WC09.JPG                      Ashton Eaton pole vaults, WC 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ashton Eaton is a tremendous athlete, and has the potential to become both a World Champ and Olympic champion. With Eaton, Trey Hardee and Bryan Clay, not to mention Tom Pappas, the US has decathletes who can command attention in all of the world competitions.

The U.S. has a long tradition of great decathletes, from Bob Mathias to Milt Campbell to Rafer Johnson to Bill Toomey to Bruce Jenner to  Dan O'Brien and all of the great one's before that.
The U.S. has a chance to take at least two, if not three medals in the global dec competitions if all of the guys perform. Statistics say that will not happen, but who buys statistics?

(On a personal note, RBR is in Boston and we are looking for a great indoor meet this weekend! Watch for my comments from the press conference tomorrow!)

Barringer-Rowe-NewBalance10.JPG   Jenny Barringer Simpson & Josh Rowe, NB Armory 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

I first met Josh Rowe in 1998, when he and John Truax started the Nike Border Clash, one of the more inventive events in our sport. Rowe & Truax developed an event, that is, in my mind, one of the key events on my schedule. I have missed it once in 11 years. It was evident then that Josh loved the sport.

Josh Rowe is one of those people, and most of the major companies have one or two, who truly love the sport and help affect generations of runners, giving them a chance to compete on their first major event. Rowe is now the marketing manager for running at New Balance, and in a short time, NB has acquired Falmouth Road Race, New Balance Indoor & Outdoor championships, as well as the NB Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, one of the crown jewels of the indoor circuit.

Tom Carleo, GM of New Balance running told RBR a year ago, to watch what NB does and how they position themselves. He made a big case for hiring Josh, and his implicit trust of Mr. Rowe. Carleo, a former 1,500m runner at Nike Boston, is one of the more iconic members of the running biz, and wears his heart on his sleeves: he loves the sport, you just have to hear it through a New England accent and smile. That Carleo hired Rowe for this position was interpreted by the industry as NB wanted to show, once again, that they are serious about performance running.

Josh Rowe allowed us to give him a few questions and his answers should give you some insight into how New Balance is re positioning itself in performance running!


Alan Webb, USA Outdoor 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

Alan Webb, the American record holder in the mile, the high school record holder in the mile, is running the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Webb has had a quixotic career; one with highs and lows. What is remarkable about Alan is that, through all of the detritus thrown at him, he has kept a modest demeanor and still speaks with the media.

Now coached by Alberto Salazar, and part of the Oregon Project, Webb is embarking on 2011 healthy and looking forward to new challenges. Webb, like Jim Ryun, the former AR and world record holder in the miles, as well as a silver medalist in the 1968 Olympic Games, has had the pressure of a sports mad country hoping that he was/is the next great American miler. Is Webb capable of medaling at a World Champs or Olympics? Of course he is, and it seems that he may finally realize that himself.

Webb will be running the NB Indoor GP this weekend over the mile distance.
Batman at Lausanne: Bershawn Jackson, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Mondo track at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Roxbury, MA will be the scene of some seriously competitive track & field events at the 2011 NB Indoor Grand Prix! Bershawn Jackson, aka Batman, will be among the super stars at this titular athletic event! If you are within driving distance of Roxbury, get a ticket and be ready for three hours of solid competition! RBR is heading out tonight, provided that there is a United flight out of Madison that I can get on! See you there Saturday!
                  Mo running the Euro Indoors, 2009, Torino, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Mo Farah, the European Champion at 5,000m and 10,000 meters, will be touring the
200 meter Mondo track at the  Reggie Lewis Center about fifteen times, as he runs the 3,000 meters. Mo will be running the 3,000m  in  New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday night, February 5, 2011.

New Balance become the sponsor of the venerable Boston Indoor Meet, now in its sixteenth year! Make sure you come to the meet if you are in the Boston area! RBR will be there, covering the meet as we have for fifteen of the past sixteen years!
The RAK half marathon is now in its fifth year. The race has now become one of the premier half marathon venues on the global racing circuit, with very fast races in warm conditions. The release below, from Premier Marathons, the management group for the RAK half marathon, talks about its amazing growth during that half decade.

The truth be told, running is growing on a global scale. Half marathon distances are one of the premier distances for running across the globe. Running continues to evolve!

Running Network

Good news is that Lukas Verzbicas will focus on running for the next four years, while he is in college. Lukas had narrowed it down to Oklahoma State, Colorado and Oregon. Then he cut it down to Oklahoma State and the University of Oregon.  Showing his Oregon shirt, Lukas has decided to be a Duck for the next four years. " Everything there is for running and I could be the best athlete possible at Oregon. At first, I was not sure (about running), but I picked one, the education, I can not trade it. I knew in the last two months, it would just be running, and Oregon was going to be the place! "

The good news is how superb many of our programs are now at developing distance runners. The second bit of good news is that Lukas is focusing on running!
Heineken lager beer (made in China) 喜力啤酒

Image via Wikipedia

Well, dear friends, the nightmare is over! London 2012 has a beer sponsor! And not just any beer, dear friends, but that brew in the green bottle, Heineken. This information came to use from our friends at insidethegames.biz! My blood pressure has already dropped! I was concerned that I might have to settle for Guinness or Smithwicks! (So I do not get castigated, or perhaps, condemned, I love both brands
mentioned above).

Some astute followers of the global sports marketing world will remember that the green bottle pulled off one of the savviest sponsorships in beer history when they become the beer sponsor of the local city of Athens in 2004, when this other beer was an Olympic sponsor (based in St. Louis, purchased by InBev, I walked through their headquarters on way to St. Agatha's as a kid, with a pretzel from Gus' Pretzels in my hand).

So kudos to Heineken! I sure hope that their sponsorship includes keeping the media area well supplied in London. May have to ask Lord Coe about this one!

(this is a picture of  Heineken lager produced in China. One night, purchased several cases of the green bottle in Beijing for pricing of a quite modest nature. It was for a minor celebration of one of the pagan gods I am fond of. I have forgotten the name of said god, however, Mr. Pat Butcher or perhaps Mr. James O'Brien might remember).

On other notes, David Oliver and Liu Xiang are duking it out at BW-Bank Meeting in Karsrulhe, Germany on February 13. RBR would sure have liked to see that one, but we will make our yearly pilgrimage to AVIVA Birmingham NSI for the February 19, 2011 event!

And Galen Rupp is running a 10,000 meters on February 26 in New Zealand. Finally, Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp will be running the 5,000m in Melbourne on March 3! 
              ...and Lukas Waves, 2010 FootLocker XC Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Lukas Verzbicas may be the best cross country runner at the high school level, EVER. Physically gifted, tactically astute, and well coached by his father, Verzbicas is a three sport threat-cross country, track & field and the triathlon!

Gatorade has astutely given Verzbicas the Gatorade National Cross Country athlete of the year for 2010-11. I would venture to say that, if Verzbicas chooses track & field, he could be
an Olympic medalist. The decision may be, that if he chooses the triathlon, he could be an Olympic gold medalist. Only time will tell.....

  Aisling Cuffe pushing the pace at FootLocker XC Champs 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net

Aisling Cuffe was announced as the Gatorade Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year for 2010-2011. It was a fitting tribute to the FootLocker champion for 2010, and an athlete who raced the best all season long! Congrats to Aisling!  Nice pick by Gatorade on this one, as
there could have been some controversy over this one, but Aisling won the big ones and cranked 16:53 in a definitive 35 second win at the FootLocker 2010 national race over
her nemesis at the NXN.

Congrats to Aisling Cuffe and nice pick by the Gatorade team! 

This is a perfect example of how to keep video fun and resonating. Verzbicas getting his award from the high school record holder and American record holder in the mile, Alan Webb, is nice touch from the Gatorade folks as well!

Lukas Verzbicas as the Gatorade Boys XC Runner of the Year? Of course! The young man has now won in 2009 and 2010. He also won the 2009 and 2010 FootLocker and the NXN 2010 title. And on top of that, he is going to become a Duck! (Well, allegedly).

Vinn Lananna: Not interested in USATF CEO position?  photo by PhotoRun.net

In a copyrighted story in the Eugene, Oregon  Register-Guard, Curtis Anderson quotes Vinn Lananna, the Associate AD for the University of Oregon as well as the Director of Track & Field & Cross Country as stating, quite clearly, that he is not a finalist for the CEO position at USA Track & Field.

Tom Jordan, the Pre Classic meet director had given Mr. Lananna his vote of confidence for the CEO position, citing, however that he did not want to loose him at Oregon. Lananna has had a string of successes, first at Dartmouth, then Stanford and now at Oregon. A well respected coach & administrator, Lananna is an enthusiastic and visionary individual in our sport. American Track & Field's Dick Patrick also recommended Lananna for the job.

RBR's conjecture was why Vinn Lananna would want to leave a job where he is, truly influencing the sport on a daily basis? But, the truth be told, the type of person that the sport needs for the job of CEO is someone who knows the sport from the inside, and who also has experience in sports marketing, global advertising and can develop relationships. And, in all honesty, the same can be said for the positions held by Rich Kenah and Mary Wittenberg. 

Lananna noted to the Register-Guard that he loved Oregon, and "had the best job in track & field ".

The search and vetting process has been kept pretty closely under wraps. The Register-Guard quotes other sources as noting that Rich Kenah, 1997 World Champs bronze medalist, and partner at Global Athletics & Marketing, and Mary Wittenberg, CEO of NYRR, as two of the three final candidates for the position.

Sources close to the search process noted that the search committee worked the list down to ten candidates, then six, and now, three.

RBR has, as it tries to, stayed out of the nomination business as well as the gossip business. Both Kenah and Wittenberg love the sport, and are experienced in marketing and promoting our sport. Most importantly, they know our sport and love it.

RBR hopes that, whoever the individual is, that they know how to translate a love and knowledge of the sport with visionary sports marketing and sales.

To read the entire story, please read:

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